Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

news

Expand Messages
  • Christine Chumbler
    Government Finalises HIV/Aids Policy Daily Times (Blantyre) April 18, 2002 Posted to the web April 18, 2002 Tamanda Matebule Blantyre Government has finalised
    Message 1 of 1046 , Apr 19 7:48 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Government Finalises HIV/Aids Policy
      Daily Times (Blantyre)
      April 18, 2002
      Posted to the web April 18, 2002
      Tamanda Matebule
      Blantyre
      Government has finalised drafting a national policy on HIV-Aids at the work-place to be tabled during the next session of parliamentary.
      Project coordinator in the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Teddy Chiwaula, said the draft policy, which has been jointly developed with workers and various organisations, took them about six months to finish.
      'The policy will revive the dwindling economy of the country as less productive employees at work-places will be assigned other duties they can ably handle,' he said.
      Chiwaula observed that presently most companies are less productive because of absenteeism from work as a result of illnesses related to the epidemic.
      He noted that the policy will not segregate against infected workers, saying anyone infected with the killer diseases will not be dismissed.
      He said the draft policy has already been handed to the responsible minister, who is yet to present it to the Parliamentary Committee on HIV-Aids for Parliament's approval.
      The draft policy, which has been developed in collaboration with Project Hope*a local non-governmental organisation*was funded by the US Department of Labour.
      Once Parliament endorses the policy, organisations shall develop their own policies to suit their respective companies.
      The Aids policy at work-places is one of the bills to be discussed during the next parliamentary seating, besides the controversial Prostitution Bill.
      Other companies and organisations which participated in drafting the policy include: MCTU, Comatu, Medical Council, Illovo, the central and commercial banks as well human rights organisations.
      *****
      Government to Lower Maize Prices
      Daily Times (Blantyre)
      April 18, 2002
      Posted to the web April 18, 2002
      Thomas Chafunya
      Blantyre
      GOVERNMENT has started working with donors and international agencies on modalities to reduce the current high maize prices from K850 per bag to an affordable price, Finance Minister Friday Jumbe said in Blantyre yesterday.
      Jumbe said during the opening of the 2002/03 pre-budget consultations that there is a general agreement between donors and government to make prices of maize affordable.
      He said signs have already started showing that another maize crisis which may spur an increase in prices.
      'The current K850 is high but without the element of subsidy we will bring the prices down so that the people can afford it,' he said.
      He said donors and other international agencies, who have been arguing that there is an abundance of other types of food apart from maize in the country, have started to share government's sentiments that the country is sailing through an acute food shortage.
      He said there has been an overture in donor pledges whose donations will have a favourable impact on the price of maize torwards the poor.
      The minister disclosed that another World Food Programme (WFP) team will come later this month to asses how best the safety-net programme in the food situation and maize price structure problem can be solved.
      In an exclusive interview later, Jumbe said the new price structure of maize will be formulated by the ministries of Agriculture and Finance and the National Economic Council (NEC) where new lower prices than K850 per bag will be proposed.
      'We will come up with new low prices of maize but also a structure that must give incentives to the farmers to grow more maize,' he said.
      Jumbe said government will also come up with ways to mitigate high costs of transport that raise the landed cost of imported maize.
      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Alfred Kammer advised government last month to draw up a food safety-net programme targeting the most vulnerable.
      The mission also observed that maize prices which went up 500 percent have caused great shocks to the country's economy and shot up commody prices.
      *****
      Ombudsman Hears MBC Workers' Case
      Daily Times (Blantyre)
      April 18, 2002
      Posted to the web April 18, 2002
      Penelope Paliani-Kamanga
      Blantyre
      HEARING of a public inquiry on the dismissal of four Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) employees started yesterday at the Office of the Ombdusman after the Supreme Court of Appeal allowed the Ombudsman to hear the case.
      Two of the ex-employees said in their submissions they believe they were dismissed on political grounds.
      Rasque Mkhwapatira told the inquiry that he was dismissed following reports that President Bakili Muluzi was not happy with the way he covered the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda's funeral.
      He said soon after the report, things turned so sour for him that his work was gravely affected, leading to his dismissal.
      Mkwampatira said MBC never told him the reasons why his services were terminated.
      Another victim, Geoffrey Msampha, also insisted that he was dismisssed on political grounds, arguing that according to the Constitution, MBC was supposed to hear his side and tell him the reasons for the dismissal.
      'I cannot doubt that I was dismissed on political grounds, especially after I was told by one of the MBC employees, Moffat Kondowe, that I was on the list to be fired following my behaviour,' he said.
      Msampha, who received the dismissal letter two days after being commended by the board for working hard, told the inquiry that his job became threatened after he refused to join a UDF propaganda committee for the 1999 general elections.
      'I was asked during a meeting by some government officials to join the committee but I refused and told them that I cannot afford to tell lies.
      They branded me an opposition symphathiser,' he said.
      Lawyers for MBC, Davis Njovu and Johns Makhwawa, argued that it is clear in the MBC conditions of service article 29 that MBC is not obliged to state the reasons for the dismissals.
      The Supreme Court dismissed an MBC application challenging the Ombudsman's jurisdication in the case.
      *****
      Financial Constraints Hit Tourism
      Daily Times (Blantyre)
      April 18, 2002
      Posted to the web April 18, 2002
      Frank Phiri
      Blantyre
      Government has said the lack of adequate financial resources is frustrating plans to market the country's tourism sector in key source markets.
      Tourism, Parks and Wildlife minister Ken Lipenga said Sunday when he welcomed a four-man television crew from Germany, the country's tourism industry, despite its potential to contribute to economic development, is not fully developed due to lack of resources to market this potential.
      "My ministry's efforts to promote and market Malawi as an attractive tourist destination in Germany and Europe are sadly frustrated by lack of adequate resources," he said.
      Lipenga said, however, that despite the current set back, his ministry has made progress on the implementation of a number of incentives meant to attract investors and channel an increased number of tourists into the country.
      He cited the conclusion of a five-year tourism strategic development plan, establishment of an internet site later this month, upcoming appointment of a public relations firm for Malawi tourism in Europe and waiving of point of origin visa requirements for emerging source markets, as some of the key incentives the ministry is implementing.
      He said some of these incentives have already started to bear fruit as evidenced by recent expansion of the existing tourism products through investments in new accomodation and entertainment units.
      "New accomodation and entertainment units are literally sprouting eveywhere, which will without doubt pose stiff competition to existing establishments.
      This reflects a great deal of optimism about the future of Malawi tourism," he said.
      He thanked SS Rent a Car, Soche Tours and Travels, Le Meridien Malawi, Kayak Africa, Central Wilderness and Nyika Safaris for providing assistance to his ministry for transporting and lodging the four -man German television crew in the country.
      The tourism minister said the venture will assist in promoting the country's potential tour sites in Germany, which he said, is the third highest source market for Malawi.
      Joachim Enlert, leader of the German crew which begun its 10-day tour of the country yesterday, said the crew will shoot Malawi footage for broadcast to the German public on Deutches Sport Fernsehen (DSF) television channel in a show called Abenteuer Reisen TV (adventure and travel television).
      *****
      Zimbabweans Flock to Blantyre
      African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
      April 17, 2002
      Posted to the web April 17, 2002
      Brian Ligomeka
      Blantyre
      Malawi - a slither of a country wedged in the south east of Africa - has become an oasis to thousands of Zimbabweans scrambling for residency.
      The country is largely reliant on fishing and has little to offer the region in terms of its economy but has become increasingly attractive to Zimbabweans in the wake of recent political violence and famine at home.
      Malawi's home affairs department reported a dramatic increase in passport applications since Zimbabwe's controversial presidential elections in March.
      "We have been processing passport applications from applicants claiming to be Zimbabweans of Malawi origin," said home affairs minister Monjeza Maluza.
      Maluza couldn't give an exact figure but said the applications were "in their thousands".
      Many of the applications were from white Zimbabweans who claimed to be of Malawi parentage, Maluza said.
      Most had lost their Malawi citizenship because they had been out of the country for so long.
      The exodus to Malawi comes after the European Union and the US government imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe.
      The country faces chronic food shortages and ongoing political violence.
      Most Zimbabweans wanting to flee are having difficulty entering Europe and the US because of the sanctions and have resorted to Malawi as an easier option.
      Many have already been granted temporary residency in Malawi but will be deported if they are unable to substantiate their claims of nationality.
      "We have issued most of the applicants with certificates of travel while we verify their backgrounds," Maluza said.
      Historically many Malawians flocked to Zimbabwe for jobs on mines and farms.

      *****

      Mugabe promises
      farming boom

      President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has
      vowed to end food shortages, provide jobs and
      end foreign exchange problems by boosting
      agricultural output on farms confiscated from
      whites.

      He said his government would maximise efforts
      to get agricultural production going among the
      250,000 black families given land under his land
      reform programme.

      Marking Independence
      Day with a speech to
      thousands in Harare, he
      said that white people
      were now "second
      citizens" in Zimbabwe
      and it should not be
      forgotten.

      Zimbabwe is currently
      suffering its worst-ever economic crisis, with
      unemployment at a record 60%, inflation at an
      all-time high of 112% and interest rates of
      70%.

      Hundreds of businesses have closed, foreign
      investment has dried up, Western governments
      have frozen aid and over three million people
      are in danger of going hungry.

      Mr Mugabe chose on Thursday to focus on his
      land seizure programme.

      "The soil that we walk is ours - every grain is
      ours," he said.

      "The white man is here as a second citizen:
      you are number one. He is number two or
      three. That must be taught to our children."

      Call for unity

      The celebrations in the capital, which included
      a fly-past by military jets, were marred briefly
      when a flame of remembrance the president
      was trying to light was blown out by a strong
      wind.

      In his speech, the
      president also accused
      Western powers of
      seeking to destabilise
      his country after last
      month's controversial
      elections, saying he
      would bow to no-one
      but God.

      "There is an imperial
      bid by hostile
      countries of the West
      to erode our electoral
      democracy and qualify
      our independence," he said, without naming
      any country.

      Mr Mugabe's election win has been branded
      "daylight robbery" by his main rival Morgan
      Tsvangirai and rejected by many Western
      powers.

      But the 78-year-old former guerrilla, who also
      marked 22 years in power on Thursday, said he
      was willing to work with all political forces in
      the country for peace and national unity.

      "Let us work to be one. Avoid quarrels, avoid
      fights, concentrate on the building of our
      nation," he said.

      *****

      Concern over SA's stance on
      Zimbabwe

      JASPREET KINDRA and MAIL & GUARDIAN REPORTER, Johannesburg | Friday

      AMNESTY International has voiced "deep concern" over South
      Africa's unclear stance on a European Union resolution on
      violence by militia members and "war veterans" in Zimbabwe,
      tabled at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in
      Geneva.
      Amnesty's UN lobbyist Cathy Turner said Amnesty saw South
      Africa as a "key player" in the commission and among African
      states, and had not yet committed itself to the resolution.
      Amnesty and the rest of the world community expected South
      Africa to take a stand against human rights violations because of
      its experience of apartheid, she said.
      Rumours were rife in UN corridors that South Africa might
      sponsor a "no action" motion against the resolution. This device,
      routinely used by China to block scrutiny of its human rights
      record, would prevent the commission from considering the EU
      resolution.
      Turner pointed out that the African bloc in the 53-member
      commission tabled a resolution last year stipulating that only they
      had the right to table issues of concern to the continent.
      Similar sentiments were echoed at the New Economic
      Partnership for Africa's Development talks, which opened in
      Dakar, Senegal, this week. South African presidential economic
      adviser Wiseman Nkuhlu, who is at the summit, told the SABC
      that African countries wanted to be left alone to deal with African
      issues such as Zimbabwe in their own way.
      The SABC also reported that Senegalese President Abdoulaye
      Wade had criticised the "trade union stance" - continental
      solidarity -adopted by the African states on Zimbabwe.
      Agency reports have speculated that President Thabo Mbeki and
      Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo did not turn up at the
      conference as a possible rebuke to Wade for his critical stance.
      Turner said the EU had held talks with the African states on the
      resolution, which asks Zimbabwe to ratify the UN convention
      against torture and urges the government "to fully cooperate with
      all relevant mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights,
      including inviting them to visit the country."
      Requests by several UN human rights special rapporteurs to visit
      Zimbabwe have been turned down by the government.
      Sources said that at South Africa's insistence the EU
      incorporated a paragraph recognising "the importance of fair, just
      and sustainable land reform" in Zimbabwe. The UN representative
      from Spain, now chairing the EU bloc, closely consulted the
      South African delegation on the wording.
      The resolution urges Zimbabwean authorities to allow civil society
      "to operate without fear of harassment or intimidation", as well as
      seeking government assurances of "full respect for freedom of
      opinion and expression, including freedom of the press in relation
      to all types of mass media."
      Reports also indicated that South Africa might be softening its
      support for an optional protocol to the UN Convention against
      Torture. After 10 years of drafting, a compromise proposal has
      been tabled which would allow human rights experts to inspect
      prisons round the world.
      Human rights monitors in Zimbabwe have alleged widespread
      torture of opposition members by militiamen and war veterans.
      South Africa's permanent representative at the UN in Geneva, SG
      Nene, originally pledged to co-sponsor a motion to pass the
      proposal.
      But last Wednesday diplomats were baffled when Nene stated
      that all such new human rights treaties should be adopted by
      consensus, not by a majority vote. Raising the bar in this way
      would almost certainly ensure that the proposal dies.
      However, Turner said the South Africans "now seemed to be on
      board". Nene could not be reached for comment on South Africa's
      position this week.
      Foreign affairs representative Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed that the
      African bloc at the UN would abstain when the vote on the
      European resolution is taken on Friday. South Africa had not
      decided how it would vote.

      *****


      White farmers flee Zimbabwe
      for Mozambique

      JANE FLANAGAN, Chimoio, Mozambique | Friday

      HOME for Johan and Kirsty Fourie is a leaking tent, two hours'
      drive down a potholed dirt track in war-ravaged Mozambique. They
      have no electricity, their toilet is a hole in the ground and their
      water supply is a walk away in a field pitted by landmines. Even
      this, they say, is preferable to living on a farm in President Robert
      Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
      The Fouries are among a new generation of pioneer white farmers
      who are fleeing the devastation of Mugabe's land-grab policy to
      make a fresh start across the border in Mozambique.
      "We are starting from scratch and things are far from easy, but at
      least we can work and make some progress," says Johan Fourie
      (28), who left his family's farm in Masvingo last August after the
      "war veterans" moved in and began burning the land.
      "At home, people are not doing much except waiting to see what
      happens next. Anything has to be better than that. At least there
      is some sort of future here and you know that you're still going to
      be farming next year."
      The couple, who married a year ago, are among 20 white farminged
      families who have settled in the central Mozambican province of
      Manica, right on the Zimbabwean border.
      Up to a dozen more have made their homes in the northern Tete
      province, and since last month's disputed Zimbabwean
      presidential elections the Mozambique government has received
      around 100 more applications from farmers eager to start again.
      Delighted by the response, the authorities are preparing packages
      of leased land and tax-free incentives to persuade many more to
      cross the border.
      For Mozambique the farmers offer a chance to help galvanise the
      country's almost non-existent agricultural industry. Less than 5%
      of its arable plots are cultivated and years of fighting - first for
      independence, followed by a 16-year civil war - have left the land
      strewn with landmines and farm buildings devastated by bullets
      and bombs. Large swathes of the population have never had a job.
      "We welcome the farmers," José da Graça, the provincial Director
      of Agriculture and Rural Development, said. "We are keen for
      foreign investment and there is no reason to discriminate against
      the Zimbabwean farmers. They will open up the land and the local
      community sees benefits from that, in terms of employment,
      roads and bridges. As long as they abide by our laws and respect
      our culture, we have no problem with them."
      Tungai Sagwate is among those who have found work with one of
      the new settlers. He fled Mozambique's civil war for Zimbabwe 15
      years ago, but is one of many thousands who decided life is
      better at home.
      "I never dreamt that I would think life in my own country was
      better than in Zimbabwe. We are so happy these people are
      coming here to grow food and provide jobs," he said.
      His employer Brendon Evans brought his family, a small herd of
      cows and a large satellite dish over the border six months ago.
      Their dairy and maize farm, just outside Harare, was one of the
      first to be invaded by government-supporting thugs. The squatters
      have since gone, and for a while the Evans's had some hope of
      returning until Mugabe "stole the election".
      "Like a lot of people in Zimbabwe we had our lives on hold, but
      once the election was over there was no going back," Jenny
      Evans (28) says.
      They live in a stark, unpainted, concrete house at the end of a
      five-mile dirt road. They are taking lessons in Portuguese and
      have begun a weekly study group for fellow Zimbabweans new to
      the area.
      They meet over beer and a braai to air problems and share
      information about the labyrinth of rules surrounding the licensing
      of new companies.
      They complain of corruption among officials who handle the
      applications and the lack of financial aid available to help them
      get started.
      Although Mozambique has begun to embrace market reforms,
      land still cannot be bought or sold. New farmers can apply for
      50-year leases but are limited to 2 470 acres each for which they
      pay about R8 080 a year.
      Kirsty Fourie says: "Zimbabwean farmers are used to owning their
      land, not leasing it, so we have to change our way of thinking. To
      me it is a bit of a relief, because at least if it is taken away from
      us, our life savings don't go with it, which is what has happened to
      our parents' generation at home."
      However, not everyone has welcomed the arrival of these
      pioneers.
      For some blacks, the new white communities trigger memories of
      hardship under Portuguese rule and the part the white
      governments of South Africa and Rhodesia, as it then was, played
      during their long and bitter civil war.
      Da Graça says: "There are many who are worried that violence
      will start again. People here have had enough of war, they want to
      live in peace."
    • Christine Chumbler
      ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006
      • 0 Attachment

        ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17

        The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.

        China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.

        Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.

        The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.

        "They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.

        The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.

        But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.

        The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.

        This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.

        Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.

        According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.

        President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.

        The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.

        Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.

        The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.

        The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.

        *****

        Chihana operated on

        by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31

        Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.

        Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.

        Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.

        Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.

        "Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.

        Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.

        Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

        "The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.

        He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.

        Mughogho is now in charge of the party.

        Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.

        *****

        Pillane proposes presidential age limit

        by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13

        A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.

        Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.

        "My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."

        But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.

        "I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.

        MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.

        MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."

        MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.

        "If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.

        The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.

        "It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.

        On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.

        Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.

        "There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.

        But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.

        "One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.

        The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

        The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.

        *****

        Mussa hails new driving licence

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52

        Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.

        Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.

        The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.

        "With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.

        Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.

        Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.

        Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.

        *****

        UDF demands investigation on Kasambara

        by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46

        The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.

        UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.

        "Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.

        Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.

        "We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.

        But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

        "They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.

        Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.

        "They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.

        Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.

        *****

        Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        May 18, 2006

        Posted to the web May 19, 2006

        Andrew Lungu

         

        MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.

        The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.

        Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.

        A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.

        Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.

        "A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.

        "The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.

        The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.

        He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.

        "Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.

        Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.

        Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.

        Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.

        They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.

        According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.

        Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.

        The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.

        The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.

         

        *****

        Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        22 May 2006 11:51

        Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.

        The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.

        Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.

        "I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.

        Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.

        Opposition protests

        Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.

        A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.

        Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.

        Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.

        "This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.

        He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."

        Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.

        Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.

        Crackdown

        In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.

        The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.

        However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.

        Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.

        Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.

        The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.

        Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.

        The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.

        But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.

        The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.

        Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.